Author: Jennifer Rush
Series: Altered, book #2
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.
After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she's learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam's rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.
Then a figure from Anna's childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth -- before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?
Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last age is turned.
may will probably be minor spoilers for the first book.**
So, I liked Altered when I read it earlier this year...A LOT. Like, even more than I thought I was going to. So I pretty much already knew that the sequel was a must-read and that it was probably going to be just as intense. And, boy, was it!
I know I just said this, but Erased is intense. I couldn't put the book down. And when I absolutely had to stop reading, I rushed back to it with super-human quickness. Simply put, I was utterly compelled to continue reading, as Anna, Sam, Nick, and Cas searched for the answers to their past and discovered more than they ever bargained for when it came to their futures.
Erased finds the characters two months after the events of Altered, on the run and hiding out. They're all kind of on auto-pilot, doing what they need to do to survive and not much else. The flashbacks are getting worse, and it's difficult for any of them to discern what's real and what's not anymore. But they're sticking it out, staying together to evade the Branch as long as they possibly can.
Except, it soon becomes clear that their "safety in numbers" theory isn't going to cut it anymore, and Anna is forced to head out with only the ill-tempered Nick by her side. These two have never been the best of friends, the animosity between them crackling like lightning. I liked this little interlude, and not just because we get to see Nick and Anna as badasses, working together in tandem to take down some Branch agents that are on their trail. No, I enjoyed this turn of events much more because it shows a softer side of Nick and through a series of flashbacks, we learn more of each of these characters' history. At one time, they might not have hated each other.
Stop looking at me like that. There's no love triangle...not really, anyway. It's only my ardent wish that Nick was a viable suitor for Anna. Sam's great and all, but he just seems like a shell of a person at times. But these kids have been through an awful lot, so I'll chalk his behavior up to that. Especially since he is unfailingly faithful to dear Anna.
I love the team dynamic, with Sam as the leader. Except, because of some weird bonding experiment done as part of the Altered program, Anna's actually the head of the group. They are her boys, and she is theirs to protect. It makes for some interesting situations and some rather funny tests on their part as they try to determine just how far that bond goes.
Exhilarating and fast-paced doesn't begin to describe this novel, but that's a good jumping off point. As with the first book, I found bits of the plot to be on the predictable side, but again, it didn't keep me from enjoying the story as quickly as I could, especially with some of the awesome twists thrown into the mix. And though there's more story to tell, and their pasts are anything but clear, this second installment leaves the reader with at least some semblance of closure. And yet, this reader can't wait to get her hands on the next book. =)
**possible spoilers below**
A little side-note. I read Altered before I'd ever even heard of the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer, and though the premises are very different, the group dynamic is very similar and just as entertaining:
has twin brothers named Nick and Gabriel
has altered boy named Nick who has previously used Gabriel as an alias
oldest brother Michael is the no-nonsense
head of the family
Sam, the boy who's been in the Altered program the longest, is also a no-nonsense kind of leader
both series include an outsider who gains acceptance, only to betray the group
Becca discovers she's also an Elemental
Anna was also in the Altered program with the boys
Whew! All those hot, shirtless boys on the covers...*fans self* I definitely prefer the old covers with the sideways font and clear view of the, um, half-naked guys. :)
About the author:
Jennifer Rush lives in a little town on the shoreline of Lake Michigan with her husband and two children. She grew up wanting to be an Egyptologist, but realized she hated the desert and declared herself a writer instead. She won her first writing award in the fourth grade (a Mickey Mouse pencil was the prize) and has been crafting stories ever since. In her free time, she likes to read, Photoshop, and consume large amounts of caffeine.
Her debut YA, ALTERED, will release January 2, 2013, from Little, Brown.
Her debut middle-grade, BOT WARS, released March 21, 2013, from Dial Books for Young Readers. It's written under the pen name J. V. Kade and can be found HERE.
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